October 21, 2021

Volume XI, Number 294

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October 21, 2021

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October 19, 2021

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T-Mobile Clarifies Facts of Security Incident in Press Release

There has been a flurry of reporting in the past few days on the T-Mobile customer data compromise, with allegations that the compromise affected up to 100 million customers. The Federal Communications Commission confirmed yesterday that it is investigating the incident. T-Mobile proactively issued a press release on August 17 to clarify and correct the facts.

According to the press release, T-Mobile has “been urgently investigating the highly sophisticated cyberattack” and is now providing details on the attack. The substance is quoted below from the press release:

  • “Late last week we were informed of claims made in an online forum that a bad actor had compromised T-Mobile systems. We immediately began an exhaustive investigation into these claims and brought in world-leading cybersecurity experts to help with our assessment.

  • We then located and immediately closed the access point that we believe was used to illegally gain entry to our servers.

  • Yesterday, we were able to verify that a subset of T-Mobile data had been accessed by unauthorized individuals. We also began coordination with law enforcement as our forensic investigation continued.

  • While our investigation is still underway and we continue to learn additional details, we have now been able to confirm that the data stolen from our systems did include some personal information.

  • We have no indication that the data contained in the stolen files included any customer financial information, credit card information, debit or other payment information.

  • Some of the data accessed did include customers’ first and last names, date of birth, SSN, and driver’s license/ID information for a subset of current and former postpay customers and prospective T-Mobile customers.

  • Our preliminary analysis is that approximately 7.8 million current T-Mobile postpaid customer accounts’ information appears to be contained in the stolen files, as well as just over 40 million records of former or prospective customers who had previously applied for credit with T-Mobile. Importantly, no phone numbers, account numbers, PINs, passwords, or financial information were compromised in any of these files of customers or prospective customers.

  • As a result of this finding, we are taking immediate steps to help protect all of the individuals who may be at risk from this cyberattack. Communications will be issued shortly to customers outlining that T-Mobile is:

    • Immediately offering 2 years of free identity protection services with McAfee’s ID Theft Protection Service.

    • Recommending all T-Mobile postpaid customers proactively change their PIN by going online into their T-Mobile account or calling our Customer Care team by dialing 611 on your phone. This precaution is despite the fact that we have no knowledge that any postpaid account PINs were compromised.

    • Offering an extra step to protect your mobile account with our Account Takeover Protection capabilities for postpaid customers, which makes it harder for customer accounts to be fraudulently ported out and stolen.

    • Publishing a unique web page later on Wednesday for one stop information and solutions to help customers take steps to further protect themselves.

  • At this time, we have also been able to confirm approximately 850,000 active T-Mobile prepaid customer names, phone numbers and account PINs were also exposed. We have already proactively reset ALL of the PINs on these accounts to help protect these customers, and we will be notifying accordingly right away. No Metro by T-Mobile, former Sprint prepaid, or Boost customers had their names or PINs exposed.

  • We have also confirmed that there was some additional information from inactive prepaid accounts accessed through prepaid billing files. No customer financial information, credit card information, debit or other payment information or SSN was in this inactive file.”

There’s a lot in there, which is why we quoted the press release directly.  It is important to get information directly from the source.

According to T-Mobile, if an individual’s information was included in the compromise, T-Mobile will notify those customers and offer identity theft protection services. However, if you are currently a T-Mobile customer, it is important to follow its recommendations to change your PIN and check out the website they have created to answer questions and provide further recommendations.

Copyright © 2021 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 231
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About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence
Partner

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...

401-709-3353
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